Friday, July 31, 2009

Sandy Beaches

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a good yarn club. Fiber Baristas was a bit of a tough call … it was a good chunk of cash, but I was sold both because Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden and Catherine of Knitting Notions were involved and because it included nine unique independent dyers, so I’d get a wide variety of yarn.


This month’s offering was from PennyRose Yarns. Ruth lives in New Jersey and her favorite New Jersey expression is “down the shore” which means “going to the beach/shore.” She built her Postcards from Home yarn around this phrase.


The name of this colorway actually is “Down the Shore” and it’s in Ruth’s Shelley base, which is 4 oz/400 yards of 100% superwash merino. Her etsy shop is closed right now, but I’m certain it will be stocked with awesome stuff when she returns from vacation

Ruth was also kind enough to offer all of the clubbers free access to one of her paid patterns. I chose the Diamonds Modular Scarf (both Ravelry links) and I’m sure I’ll have fun with it sooner rather than later.


I’m off to the Lake for the Big Family Party on Saturday, then a week’s vacation with The Hubster. We’ll see what kind of trouble I can scare up while I’m in New York State!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Yin and the Yang

All last summer, I kept walking by and fondling the Yin-Yang Bolero we had in the shop at Bloomin Yarns. It was a sample for Knit One Crochet Too’s Ty-Dy.

I picked out two complimentary colorways of the yarn, which happened to be very close to the store sample. And there was a fantastic button in the shop, so boom. Project.


That was back in September. I cranked on it for a very short period of time, and I knocked out about 80% of the sweater. Then the weather changed and my mojo on this sweater completely vanished. So I put it away for a few … uh … months.


When it started warming up again, I knew I had to suck it up and get this thing finished. So I pulled out the project bag and garter stitched my little heart out for a few nights and I was all done.


Yin-Yang Bolero
Pattern: Yin Yang Bolero #1404 by Helene Rush
Size: 47”
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy.
Quantity: 3 skeins/color, though I just barely dipped into that second skein (grrr …)
Colors: Blue Pansy and Meadow
Source: Bloomin Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: US 8 from my KA Switch set
Started: 11 September 2008
Finished: 19 July 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WiP it Good

As I’m sure you guys have noticed, I’ve been in “finish stuff mode” for a while now. This means there isn’t a whole lot on the needles at the moment.

Just two things, actually. And I finished quilty stuff, so I’m not exactly mid-project down in the basement right now either.

Up first is a boring little sock toe that’s looked exactly like this for two weeks.

Garter toe!

I cast on at Hurricane Knitters on “third Wednesday,” and have since finished two Everlasting Bagstoppers and a few quilty things. This has gotten next to no time. In no small part because this yarn is crocking and turning my fingers purple when I knit with it.

In other news, I’d been carrying around a project bag full of Sublime Organic Cotton since shortly after my niece was born in April. Inspired by Michelle’s shop sample (Ravelry Link), I have a cotton Tulip sweater on the needles (for my niece).

Rockin’ the applied I-cord!

So that’s what’s shakin' here. We have a special Fifth Wednesday edition of the Hurricane Knitters this fine evening, then it’ll be a scramble to get ready to go to the Lake for vacation next weekend. More finished projects to come!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Very Special Gift

On as many “every other Fridays” as I can manage, I try to get over to the Borders near my house. There’s a fantastic group of local knitters that gather there on a regular basis (every other Friday, obviously).

One of our members, Heather, recently added a baby girl to her family. The Friday group managed to get their hands on her sock yarn scraps and Laurie organized the ModPod pattern for everyone to add a pod or two or three.

The project made its way around the group for several months. I don’t really know who all worked on it, but since Laurie and CelticQueen knew of my mad quilting skillz (HA!), they asked if I’d be willing to add a backing to the quilt.


Laurie rescued the blanket from Michelle at Bloomin (an easy drop-off point for everyone), added a few necessary pods, washed and blocked it, then turned it back over to the store, where I got it about 24 hours before Heather’s shower.


I basted quickly and took it over to the shower. Heather is a knitter and quilter, and I figured she’d understand getting a not-quite-finished gift for her shower.

I used the "loose" ends in the center of each ModPod to tie the quilt. Used pinking shears to trim the flannel within about 1.5" of the edge the whole way around, as well as clipping the "inside edges." Then I whipstitched the edge.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve been on a rip-roaring tear to get unfinished stuff finished and OUT of my house. This one was sent over to Heather on Saturday.

While I would strongly recommend against attempting to attach a woven backing (flannel) to a knitted object, this is one incredibly special gift that I’m certain Heather and her daughter will treasure for a very long time.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Bagstopper

Yep. I jumped right in and knit a second Everlasting Bagstopper. I worked a golf outing last Monday and needed some “idiot knitting” to get me through nine hours of sitting at the 15th green.

The bag hanging in front of the Bloomin Yarns stash of 2nd Time Cotton

I cast on Bagstopper No. 2 last Saturday and did just enough over the weekend to get the garter stitch square and stockingette in the round base finished and switch to the lace pattern and US 10.5 needles. Then I put it away, to be pulled out again on the course.

Base of bag with drawstring

And boy, did I ever knit on the course! I got about halfway into my second skein of yarn on the course and had very little left to go when the siren sounded for lightning and we all headed back in to the clubhouse for dinner.

I like having the bead on the drawstring. Makes it easier to close. Again, this was from stash, already in the house.

Another day or so of knitting and I was done. I used the ribbon I had originally purchased for Bagstopper #1 and took a visit to the local JoAnn’s (not the good one out in Robinson, the smaller one closer to my house) for the drawstring.

US Women’s 9 mush sandal for scale

Don’t be surprised if you see one more of these things coming off of my needles. This bag is destined to be a Christmas present for my best friend’s mom. Which is why this bag is in Ole Miss colors, and why I will also need one for Bill’s sister.


Everlasting Bagstopper #2
Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper
Size: It’s still a bag
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton
Color: Claret
Quantity: Two skeins (approx. 360 yards)
Source: Bloomin Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: US 5 and US 10.5, both from my KA Switch set
Started: 18 July 2009
Finished: 23 July 2009
Mods: I used Judy's Magic Cast On to start with 44 stitches on each of two needles. Easy to pick up on the sides to get the project in the round. I also used my sewing machine to attach the handles, rather than hand-sewing them onto the bag. "Hand," when it comes to sewing, is a four-letter word in this house! (that means I don't like it and avoid when possible)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flat FO #2: PPPPineapple quilt

You have seen it in many stages along the way. I’ve sworn over it, been impressed by the quilting, and used it for a binding demo on this here blog.

It’s finally finished.

Meet the Positively Painful Patriotic Pineapple.

Shortly after moving out here, mom and I decided to both take a Pineapple quilt class at Quilted Memories in Dunkirk, N.Y. (Mary, the owner, is almost certainly going out of business. This is extremely sad news).

Quilting motif that’s on all of the Pineapple blocks. When you’re computer-guided, it’s perfect every time!

I completely enjoyed my classmates, but discovered quickly that having to make a gross of sub-cuts (literally 144) on every stinking round of these blocks simply wasn’t for me.

The borders were also computer-guided and are perfect. Chevrons in the red, diamonds in the white and stars in the blue

But I was really glad to be finished piecing this top when that finally happened.

More detail of the quilting, as it’s more easily seen on the back. Still not great photos of the stars, but they’re there.

I had Mary from Quilted Memories do the quilting on her Gammill longarm machine. I think she did a simply fabulous job.


I went online and purchased a quilt backing-width fabric. I’d had enough grief piecing the front, I wasn’t about to piece the back!

More detail shots of the back

I recently took this quilt in to The Quilt Company to show it off a little bit, after I finally finished whipstitching the binding down. The fabulous Debi (store manager) thinks I should enter it in the Butler show this October.

Something blue bled like a sonofabitch when I washed this thing. I think it was the backing, but I can’t prove it.

What do you think?


I’m just thrilled it’s finished.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Everlasting Bagstopper

I was quite new to the online knitting scene in the summer of 2007 when the Everlasting Bagstopper was published at Having never heard of Hemp for Knitting or AllHemp6, I still put the pattern on my mental “I wanna knit that” list.

Two years later, I did!

Stretched a bit so you can see it's plenty wide

Of course, I have two skeins of AllHemp6 wound and sitting somewhere in the stash, but when I saw the Sapphire colorway, I knew that’s what I really wanted to use.


I was a little worried the first time I scrunched it all up into a ball that I had put the drawstring in a little too low. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing if I put it a row or two higher up, but it really is fine where it is.

My very favorite sandals included for scale. US 9, Teva Mush sandals!

I found the drawstring at the “good” Joann’s, out by the airport. When I went to weave it in, I decided that if I had a bead that would work, that would make it a little easier to pull the drawstring closed.

I DID have an appropriate bead!

Earlier in the week, I had purchased some navy-with-white-polka-dot grosgrain ribbon for handles for this bag. But at Joann’s, I found what I felt was the PERFECT ribbon for this bag.


It is woven, however, and therefore has a ton of loose threads on the reverse side. So I sewed the 1-3/8” ribbon to a 1-1/2” black grosgrain for the handles. I could have done a better job (witness the slight ripple), but I still like it. All in all, I’m quite pleased with the final effort! In fact, I like it well enough that I’ve already cast on for a second one, which will be a gift.


Everlasting Bagstopper

Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper from
Size: It’s a bag
Yarn: AllHemp6, 2 skeins
Color: Sapphire
Source: Bloomin Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: US 5 and US 10.5, both from my KA Switch set
Started: 28 June 2009
Finished: 18 July 2009
Mods: Knit it taller than the pattern called for, but not tall enough that I’d run out of yarn. I was afraid that if I knit all the yarn, it would be whacking my ankles when full. I also cast on using Judy’s Magic Cast On, and picked up the sides of the garter rectangle as I would for a sock toe. That meant that I had many more stitches than the 116 the pattern suggested, but as long as I had an even total number of stitches, it didn't matter.

Friday, July 17, 2009

La Noche de Los Probres

It’s time for my July shipment of the Art Walk Sock Yarn Club!


It’s a monthly-renewal club offered by the incredibly talented Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden


Roxanne picks a piece of artwork every month, then dyes the club yarn based on her interpretation of that piece of art.


This month’s artwork is La Noche de Los Pobres by Diego Rivera


It’s dyed on Roxanne’s Superwash Sock Yarn base, which is 430 yards of 100% superwash merino.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Flat FO #1

I was at the Lake all of last week. Eight and a half days, to be precise. I didn’t knit a single stitch the whole time I was there.

So what did I do craft-wise while I was up there? I put two of my longest-standing almost-finished-objects to rest.

First, my Picnic Plaid.

I first saw this quilt as a class sample made by Mary Ellen Sakai at Bearly Stitchin, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2004 or 2005. I don’t remember.

I do remember that I first made this quilt as a gift for my best friend, Bill. He tells me that his quilt has a label on the back that says “2005” on it. People, this is why we put labels on quilts!

This was a very quick top to complete and I loved the results when I made it for Bill. On his quilt, I put puppy paw prints all around the border and on all of the stripes. When I visited his house on my trip from LA to Pittsburgh in 2007, I spied his quilt. It was filthy. He was afraid to wash it. I straightened him out, but was happy it was obviously well-loved and much-used!

Anyhoo, shortly after finishing Bill's masterpiece, I decided I needed to make this quilt again, for myself! I used brighter hues of the same colors and quilted spirals in the borders and stippled the plaid stripes in like-colored thread.

So I did! I probably started it some time in early 2006. That’s pre-blog, so I don’t know exactly when I started it. Just a guess. I did decide to leave the white background squares unquilted. Not sure if I’m still in love with that decision, but they’re small enough (about 4”) that they should be fine.

I used Printed Treasures sew-in fabric for the label. Purchased at the J-store. With a coupon. I will certainly purchase again. I doodled up the “artwork” for the label in InDesign on my computer, then printed it out. I think it was a great solution, although it’s obviously a very densely-woven fabric, so it was kind of tough to sew through by hand. Oh, and this was my first label-sewing adventure in quite a while, so I didn’t quite line it up right. It’s a little puffy.

So this was a generally enjoyable project. It took forever to get the binding hand-sewn down, but I’ve been quilting less and less since I moved (I really want to change that!!!), so it kind of makes sense.

But dammit, when I edited this photo, I noticed an unquilted red square. One down from the top on the right. I’ll fix that. Someday.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beach Glass

After all the storms yesterday/last night, we woke up to this

It was obviously going to be a beautiful day. But Hubster and I had decided that we’d head home around noon, regardless of the weather. He offered our house for a work mini-retreat tomorrow (yes, he checked with me first!), so we didn’t want to be rushed while getting the details taken care of for tomorrow.

So I woke up this morning, got mostly packed to go home, and headed for the beach. As you can tell in the above picture, the waves were significantly lower today, which led me to believe it would be a good beach glass day. I had no idea how right I was.

After a 90-minute walk on the beach (and let me tell you, my knees and ankles are grouching at me about that tonight!), I had as much glass in my pocket as I’d collected in the week to-date. Even though my “standard” for the day was that anything I picked up had to be bigger than a nickel or not clear/white glass.

Here’s the weirdest thing I found:

If your name is R, and you lost your bier stein overboard in Lake Erie, I think I have its handle. Sorry about that!

And the whole haul:

This isn’t the best photo (it's dark now, or I'd re-shoot), and you can’t really tell how huge those bottom few pieces are. I’ll just clarify that I brought home FOUR pieces of glass that are too big for me to close my fist around while they’re in the palm of my hand. One is obviously 1/4 of the bottom of a beer bottle, and the other three are all slightly bigger. Unbelievable.

Someone asked if I have plans for all this beach glass. I don't. I just love collecting it and will figure something out later.

We’re back in the ‘Burgh (and oh, yeah. It’s our anniversary. Kinda forgot about that, but I’ve been married to the Hubster for six years now!). Don’t know when I’ll be headed back up to the Lake, but I will be scheduling those last 12 days of vacation very shortly!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Did I mention the big scandal at the July 4th celebrations up here? The Women's Club sells donuts, pop and hot dogs beginning at 9 am. Remembe,r the bulk of the population up here is from Pittsburgh. Someone bought ketchup for the hot dogs that wasn't Heinz! Oh, the scandal! ;-)

I've been lax in sunset-posting the last few days. Here are the highlights.


Pretty boring. Very little cloud-wise

This is kind of orange, but I liked it with the silhouettes of the kayakers and swimmers

Better colors

Yesterday was a better sunset, It was a very calm day and we had some cloud cover in the afternoon that resulted in good cloud colors at sunset.

Today, we woke up to rain, which turned torrential. We had a little bit of sun in the afternoon, but then it was impossible to miss the next storm making its way in to shore.


By the time "sunset" came around it was raining again. We're headed home mid-day tomorrow, so it'll be a while before the next batch of sunset photos. Hope you've enjoyed!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Average Joe’s

Quite the boring day today. My motivation to work completely deserted me. Gee, wonder why that is? Hmmm …

Since it is, after all, WiP Wednesday, here’s what I’ve been working on


Halfway home!

After finishing the Plaid quilt on Monday, I’ve been diligently working on my Pineapple quilt that has just needed some hand-sewn binding for about a year. Two days of chipping away and I'm halfway there!

I also took an hour-plus walk on the beach and did pretty well in the beach glass department

My pocket was awfully full!

We had a decent sunset


And the colors were great about 45 minutes later as well


Here’s hoping I can get a little bit of work done tomorrow. That would really come in handy!